How-To: Spectacular Park Picnic

Picnics are the best.

But the problem with picnics is that once you’re on one, you’re sort of…stuck. You’re all set up with a big blanket and lots and lots of stuff, you’re theoretically in the middle of a large expanse of grass or sand or some other convenience store-free locale…and if you forgot anything…


too bad.

Below, my best tips on how to make your next picnic delicious, guava-flavored-wine-soaked, and generally a blast.

Dogs, first and foremost.


– A bigger-than-you-think-you’ll-need blanket (the more room you have to spread out, the better). Bonus points if your blanket is bright and adorable, like this one from Target.

– Lots of bottled water

– Extra cups, plates and napkins

– Plastic utensils, if you’re serving anything that can’t be eaten with your hands

– Trash bags

– Moist towelettes or wipes (especially if dogs and/or children are involved)

– Cooler with ice packs

– Something to read or do in the downtime (I think picnics are a perfect moment for a) frisbee and b) US Weekly)

– An awesome wine tote for your awesome sangria (or awesome boxed wine)


1. Layer Brie (shoot for the best quality you can afford and load it on) and thinly sliced green apple on a baguette. You can also add a few slices of turkey, if you like.

2. Drizzle with a little honey or honey mustard.

WATERMELON, TOMATO & BASIL SALAD (Remember to bring plastic utensils)

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups watermelon chunks, 2 sliced tomatoes (1 red, 1 yellow is pretty), 1/3 cup crumbled feta, and a big handful of roughly chopped basil. Toss with olive oil and sea salt.


CHIPS (Pack them in air-filled resealable bags to prevent crushing)

SOMETHING CHOCOLATE THAT WILL NOT MELT (I like banana-chocolate bread pudding from a store, but cookies work, too)


In a large pitcher, combine 1 bottle relatively cheap, preferably vaguely sparkly white wine (I use Vinho Verde, about $6.99 and even cheaper at Trader Joe’s), 3/4 cup guava juice, 3/4 cup orange juice, 1 thinly sliced lemon, 1 thinly sliced lime, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp lime zest, and let sit overnight in refrigerator.

Just before serving, add a bunch of sliced strawberries and a splash of club soda (if desired) to each serving. Garnish with a lemon wheel or halved strawberry.

A few things to remember…

– If all the ice in the cooler has melted when you get home, the leftovers probably aren’t safe to save and re-serve

– Use multipurpose utensils (sporks!) to save space

– Extra munchies are always welcome: throw some fun additions like mixed nuts, olives, brownies, or mixed veggies with dip into your picnic basket

  • Mishka

    this is so perfect.  i am currently eating watermelon salad and apples with brie (infortunately, not al fresco).  two favorite things i totally forgot about until i read this.  such simple flavors and soooooo delcicious!